Past President and founder of the 50/50 group Nemata Eshu- Baiden yesterday disclosed that if at least 10% of women are not awarded symbol by any political party then they will have no option than to tell women not to vote for that party in the forth coming local council elections.
At a press conference held at the organisation’s office, the president said that they are concerned with the number of symbols awarded to women for the election as it has dwindled considerably in the two areas of concern which are Kailahun and Koinadugu.
In Kailahun she went on, during the last local elections this district awarded the largest number of women participation but it has recorded the lowest turnout in this local election.
For Koinadugu district Dr. Eshu-Baiden said during the last local elections, they recorded the lowest number of women representation but they have now recorded the highest in awarding symbol in this local election and so this is a boost for Koinudgu district.
On the issue of registration of the candidates, the past president maintained they are against the fees which was levied on candidates adding that in some district there was inflation on the fees and where this inflation comes from they want to know the basis.
Dr. Eshu-Baiden said they are not criticising the political parties but they are challenging them as they should set the framework for women’s level of participation “if women cannot do well in parliament then the local council election should be the starting ground for them.”
The national coordinator of 50/50 Iyesha Josiah Kamara in her statement said that during the last election the government made lot of promises but nothing was done and now all what they are pointing at is the issue of translating commitment to action.
She maintained that a lot of information is missing and therefore she also called on the government to include more women participation in the electoral colleges.
Since Sierra Leone is part of the global village and also signatories to most of the conventions and so therefore equal representation is very important in decision making.
“good governance and democracy is not all about men it is the governing of the people, political parties should not marginalise the women, women are not gate keepers, the political parties should create gender friendship environment for the women” she added.
Mohamed Bizimana project manager of the PACER project said that they are engaging grassroots women mobilising them for local elections.
He added that they are helping the women to take significant role in the local elections.